This article will explain what a virtual terminal is, and why it is important for your business. Find out how a virtual terminal works and how you can benefit.
To process any credit card transactions over the phone (MOTO transactions), you will need to have a virtual terminal set up. Most merchant account and payment gateway providers also offer virtual terminal services.
What is a Virtual Terminal?Virtual terminals are a great way for businesses to take payments over the phone, without the need for a separate phone line or specialist equipment.
A virtual terminal acts as a ‘credit card reader’ of sorts, and therefore allows businesses to process payments using online services for both over the phone, in store and mail order transactions.
Using a Virtual Terminal
Users create an account with a provider and this then enables them to log into either a web application, software or a downloaded application to a mobile phone or tablet in order to enter the details of the payment.
This service requires an internet connection and allows instant processing of payments. Virtual terminals are great for those without static locations or those looking for low cost, low resource methods of payment.
Users sign up to the relevant merchant account provider (including popular companies such as Barclays and PayPal) and either download the specialist software or log into a web application which will then allow them to enter card details provided over the phone in order to process the payment.
Most of these applications allow automatic invoicing and receipt generation which can be issued straight to the customer. The process is secure and doesn't retain card details.
Some providers charge an initial set up fee for the service, and possibly monthly charges. The majority of providers however will only charge a transaction fee (how much depends on how much your monthly revenue is), which ensures that you are not tied into contracts and are free to stop using the service at your convenience.
Who Uses Virtual Credit Card Terminals?
Many business types use virtual credit card terminals including businesses that are mobile, those that only deal with phone orders or mail orders as well as those who may process card payments at events or conferences.
They are great for businesses who don’t deal with large volumes of payments and can even be used on an ad-hoc basis as most providers offer them on a ‘pay as you go’ service, rather than by using monthly fees.
The Benefits of a Virtual Terminal for Credit Card Systems?
For businesses that don't process transactions in person (i.e. those that provide a service such as gyms, lawyers, accountants, contractors, B&Bs), an online virtual terminal is essential:
- They give small business owners the ability to accept credit cards from a mailed or called in payment at a reasonable cost.
- It enables recurring payment functionality for scheduled payments.
- It securely stores customer data - and if this information is being used for future use (as mentioned above), then it doesn’t put the business at risk of data breaches and violating PCI compliance regulations.
Virtual Terminal Reviews
In open systems, a virtual terminal (VT) is an application that allows users to access information from another processor in order to conduct a transaction.
The most commonly used application for virtual terminals is for payment processing where users (e.g. call centre agents) are able to enter a customer's credit card details to take payment via mail order or telephone order (MOTO payments).
AIB Merchant ServicesOne of Ireland's largest providers of merchant accounts and card payment services with extensive operations in ROI and Great Britain.
They use the latest technology and future-proofed systems to provide the best products, services, and delivery methods:
- Authipay: an AIB Merchant Services product that offers users a convenient way to accept online payments.
- Virtual Terminal: A powerful payment terminal which gives users the ability to accept credit and debit card payment transactions over the phone.
Secure Trading is another common provider of credit card payment processing for businesses who offer multiple solutions as well as its own virtual terminal.
Providing different packages to businesses, it can be a valid credit card processing option for businesses of all sizes, especially call centres dealing with various payments. Secure Trading’s virtual terminal is easy to set up and offers a range of features including easy integration, high level security, PCI compliance and simple online form creation.
Secure Trading’s packages begin at around £10 a month for businesses processing up to 100 transactions during this period whilst additional transactions are charged at 10p each, making it a low cost option perfect for small businesses and those who don’t process payments regularly. Amongst their users are Karen Millen, Staffordshire University, Days Inn and Alton Towers.
The first company to develop the virtual payment terminal. Provided for free for businesses that already hold a merchant account or payment gateway solutions through Web Merchant.
- No complex software to install
- Enables refunds
- Simultaneous access for multiple users in different locations
The company is fully certified to process into all of the Irish and UK Acquiring Banks, a number of European Banks, and all major charge cards.Business starter package – from €29 / £25 per month:
- Enables merchants to accept payments online and by phone
- Easy integration
- Includes fraud-free prevention tools
- Provides comprehensive online reporting
- Pupports refunds, rebates, and voids
- Online support
- 350 transactions per month and additional transactions charged at 12c
Sage Pay Virtual Terminal
Among Sage Pay’s numerous credit card processing services are its virtual terminal services, which gives flexible package options to suit a range of businesses sizes, each one featuring Sage Pay’s secure payment processing service which is secure and operates via a browser in order to be able to process payments from any device with browser capabilities.
With fantastic 24/7 support options available, usable by up to 2000 users and easy set-up, Sage Pay is a professional and reliable tool for businesses.
Sage’s packages range from £15 a month for its basic package which is aimed at businesses with between 1 and 250 employees, and bolt ons can be added separately to gain additional features, costing around £25 a month.
Sage Pay also offer training and advice to users, which makes it a valuable service for start-ups and those who are new to virtual processing.
Iridum’s virtual terminal is a great web based application which is easy to use and gives businesses flexible options for accepting credit card payments.
Its key features include the ability to process and manage transactions, reporting, multiple users and customisable anti-fraud settings whilst processing payments quickly and efficiently to give businesses the best services possible to their customers.
With Iridum’s virtual terminal service comes access to its Merchant Management System service although this isn’t a necessity. Their prices are a standard monthly charge of around £20 per month, with up to 350 free transactions, and a low transaction fee of 10p + VAT for each additional payment. Secure, low cost and reliable, Iridum is a top choice for businesses.
PayPoint is a popular provider of credit and debit card processing services, especially in the UK, which also offers virtual terminal services. Realising that not all businesses operate their payments through websites, they are able to provide useful services which make the payment process easy, quick and secure, all at affordable rates for businesses of any size.
PayPoint’s virtual terminal features include a no set-up fee, PCI CSS Level 1 approval, multiple user log in and real time payment authorisation.
The service is cost effective for businesses who are charged a £10 monthly fee to use the terminal which includes 100 free transactions, with a charge of 20p for each additional transaction. As one of the cheapest services, PayPoint is a great choice for small and large businesses.
Card Save offers a comprehensive service to allow merchants to take credit card payments over the phone or through mail order. Using a special web based application which can be accessed by any browser, it provides a number of great features to businesses including instant payments, secure transactions, effective records management as well being easy to set up and navigate. Card Save is suitable for use by businesses of any size.
Card Save offers a number of packages for its virtual terminal product, which can be combined with its other services which include chip and pin and online payment processing. Quotes for services depend on a number of factors, and can be obtained from Card Save directly.
Using a virtual terminal allows businesses to offer their customers flexible payment options and fulfill a number of needs including conferencing and events payments as well as providing everyday use for phone and mail ordering.
The examples above are just some of the available providers who can offer these services.
Who Are Virtual Terminals Suitable For?
This kind of credit card processing service is suitable for anyone, but is especially useful for individuals and businesses who may not necessarily have a permanent base and the equipment for processing payments.
Examples could be plumbers, electricians, cleaners, mobile beauty therapists as well as businesses who deal with phone payments.
Virtual terminals are also ideal for those who work at conferences, markets and events – and eliminates the need for costly PDQ machine rental.
How Do Virtual Terminals Work?
The transaction process is simple. The user logs into a virtual portal which acts as the ‘terminal’ and then they enter all of the necessary credit card details in order to make the payment.
These payments are then sent to the relevant merchant account where businesses can access the sales. No details are stored and there is a high level of security and encryption to protect the cardholder’s data. Payments are processed quickly and receipts and invoices can be created automatically and sent to the customer.
Some customers may not feel comfortable with the process and may prefer to use a PDQ terminal to complete the transaction, in this case, terminals and other equipment can also be purchased to offer this option to customers, but will be at a much lower rate than standard credit card machine hire.
What Fees Are Involved?
With virtual terminal credit card processing, there are usually no set up fees. Businesses simply need to register to use the service and if necessary, download the relevant application.
There are no monthly fees and all that users need to pay is a transaction fee, which is usually around 2.75%. Users will have to sign up with the relevant merchant provide who owns the chosen service.
Where Can I Get a Virtual Terminal?
Businesses can get virtual terminals from a range of providers, including well-known companies such as PayPal, Web Merchant and World Pay.
These can be combined with other services in order to streamline your payment processing – which is ideal for businesses who operate online as well as through physical stores.
Virtual terminal credit card processing provides a number of benefits for businesses and individuals, particularly those that deal with online ordering or phone orders but don’t want to set up complicated accounts and pay for PDQ machine rental.
Ideal for those who work on the move or for small businesses, a virtual terminal is a great choice for a hassle free, simple payment processing system.
Please fill out the form at the top of this page for more information, and Expert Market UK will contact you with the right Virtual Terminal solution to suit your needs.